Are you eating a lot more than you usually do, training a lot harder than you usually do, and still not making those muscle gains you are so desperately looking for? Worry not, because you are not alone.
You probably think that at this point the solution could come from some complex scientific factors, like a combination of certain macros or your calculated protein/carbohydrate/healthy fat intake. Fortunately for you, the actual solution may be a lot easier than all that, and we’re here to lay it all out for you.
Calories Are Your Friend
We often are surrounded by the notion that consuming fewer calories will help you lose weight and more calories will help you gain weight. While this simple idea is, for the most part, true, there are ways you can go about manipulating the calories you eat to improve how your body gains muscle.
To achieve those muscle gains that you’re looking for, you need to be mindful of how many calories you are taking in while also tracking the number of calories your body is expending throughout the day. While you may be taking in large quantities of calories during your meals, are your workouts, daily activities, and bodily hormones using up more calories (energy) than you are taking in? If you think this may be the case, you should consider amping up your usual meals with some extra portions to level out this caloric scale to your benefit. More calories = more muscle, but make sure that they are coming from healthy sources!
How Many More Calories Do I Have To Eat?
To put it in perspective, if you are a 6-foot, 185 lbs male and trying to slap on some extra muscle, you are going to need at least 3,000 calories a day due to how much energy your body uses (presuming you are relatively active throughout the day.) If you are weight training throughout the majority of the day, you may even need up to 3,500-4,000 calories a day to see any results in a short period of time.
Realistically, consuming 4,000 calories a day is not for the faint of heart. Hypothetically, if you were to eat this many calories per day, and you were eating at a 30/40/30 percent ratio of protein/carbs/healthy fats, you would need to eat 300 grams of protein and 400 grams of carbohydrates per day (wow!)
You can probably only imagine the amount of chicken, vegetables, and red potatoes that would be included in a daily meal. There is a way to work around this, however. If you can add more calorie-dense foods in your meals, like nuts, rice, eggs, and beef, you can probably make it a lot easier for yourself to meet this caloric requirement.
Just so we can reiterate, consuming 4,000 calories is just a hypothetical figure, specifically for the male with the dimensions we mentioned and how active he would have to be. The point we are trying to make is that you cannot achieve gaining muscle without training harder and without consuming more calories.
Eliminate Any Fasted Training
If you are someone who continuously trains while you’re fasting, you may want to consider stopping it altogether. While there are studies that often debate whether training fasted burns fat at a more efficient rate and gets you shredded faster, fasted training goes completely against our recommendation to consume more calories. Plus, why would you risk slimming your figure down when your primary goal is to gain muscle? That would be completely counter-productive to what you are trying to achieve.
If you are training fasted because you work out as soon as you wake up, try to have some fruit or a whey protein shake beforehand. It may not be much, but your body will recognize this intake and use it to its advantage, hopefully helping you to gain muscle in the process.
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